Starbucks’ Tweet-A-Coffee

Today marks the beginning of a new relationship between caffeine and social networking. Twitter and Starbucks have partnered on an ecommerce effort that will allow you to Tweet-a-Coffee to a friend (or even strangers). If this sounds familiar, it is because Starbucks and Facebook have had a similar program since 2011.

Tweet-a-Coffee works by tagging @tweetacoffee and the Twitter handle of your choice after linking your Starbucks account to Twitter with a credit card. To lend this new partnership some hype, they are giving away free $5 gift cards to the first 100,000 individuals to link their accounts.

What about retweeting and @replies, or in other words, potential for abuse Luckily, the system is savvy enough to know the difference. The $5 gift cards will be sent to the recipient of your choice only, provided you follow the rules.

“We view it as the first step toward many things we can do with Twitter that are commerce related,” said Adam Brotman, Starbucks’ Chief Digital Officer in a statement to Fast Company. “It just feels more conversational [than traditional ecommerce]; it feels more authentic; and it feels more in the flow of how we’re actually using digital.”

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Zynga News Boosts Stock

Zynga was busy making news yesterday, and not just with a positive earnings call. Zynga announced the hiring of veteran gaming industry executive Clive Downie as the company’s new COO, which is another hiring coup following the acquisition of EA and Microsoft veteran Don Mattrick as CEO. Downie comes to Zynga after being a VP of marketing at EA, and most recently he just left his role as CEO of DeNA West to take the position at Zynga.

“I am pleased with our Q3 performance which exceeded our guidance both in terms of bookings and adjusted EBITDA. We are encouraged to see sightlines to growth and expect to be profitable for the full year on an adjusted EBITDA basis,” said Don Mattrick, Chief Executive Officer, Zynga. “Our teams are working hard to compete more aggressively on the web, move to mobile and develop new hits, and I am happy with the early progress we have made. We believe our top franchises, Zynga Poker, FarmVille and Words With Friends can be evergreen in terms of consumer interest and we are focused on growing these franchises in fiscal year 2014. I am confident that Zynga is rewiring itself in a meaningful way that will strengthen the core of our business and put us back on track to achieve significant long term growth and profits.”

Downie and Mattrick worked together at Electronic Arts, and Mattrick values Downie’s experience and knowledge, especially with mobile games and international markets. Those qualities will be valuable to Zynga as it strives to derive more and more of its revenue from mobile games.

Zynga’s earnings showed a slight loss of $68,000 for the quarter, far better than the loss last year of $53 million in the same quarter, or the loss of $16 million last quarter. Revenue came in at $203 million for the third quarter, a 36 percent decline over last year’s third quarter. The company is losing users, though – daily average users (DAU) were 30 million this quarter compared to 60 million in the same quarter last year.

Investors generally liked the news, boosting the company’s share price to $4 in after hours trading last night, a gain of over 13 percent. The stock is still up today, but only by about 8 percent at the time of this writing. Analyst Michael Pachter revised his long-term target for the stock upwards to $5 per share, as he believes the numbers show Zynga is likely to return to profitability sooner than expected.

We’ll have a more extensive analysis of Zynga’s situation and prospects, and what this means for the game industry in general, on Monday.

Real-Time Social Gets Personal

When it comes to Twitter, we all let our hair down from time to time, for instance tweeting about how weak-kneed we are in the face of pizza. Now wouldn’t it come as a surprise if you tweeted about Papa John’s and got an answer? It seems brands are catching on to how easy it is to track down potential customers and catch them when they’re in the mood for their products on Twitter.


It’s not just food brands that are capitalizing on reaching out to us when we make our desires public. Real estate franchise Coldwell Banker is doing just the same thing when it comes to users tweeting about important life events. Companies like LocalResponse {link no longer active} and Hiplogiq have known about the power of exclusivity and making users feel special for some time now. However, you don’t need to be a huge brand to utilise this idea for yourself. This outreach might prove effective for both large and small local business, but the execution might differ. The system requires some hands at the keyboard for some real-time interaction and does not suit automated responses.

Using social tools like Hootsuite and Tweetdeck, brands are filtering through the morass to find both keywords and influencers that could prove important to them. When these influencers are compelled to post about the brand on their own network, this compounds the outreach effort by increasing social views from the influencer’s network. The system is a great vehicle for promotions and to get users to provide their emails so marketers have a direct line to consumers.

This new method of brand outreach is the culmination of research {link no longer active} that shows that brand tweets drive site visitations and are more likely to inspire users to consider actually purchasing the product, especially when a promotion is involved. When you do get a previously out-of-network user to follow your brand, the likelihood that they will recommend your product to someone else is 60 percent.

It might be time to do more than just tweeting about products and promotions. The future of social marketing may require getting one-on-one with the public in a way that humanizes brands and creates a relationship with consumers.

Source: MediaPost

Brazil Emerges As Gaming Powerhouse

By Joost van Dreunen, Ph.D.

Brazil, the world’s fifth most populous country, is a Latin American goliath of interactive entertainment. According to our most recent analysis, digital games revenue in Latin America will grow from $1.4 billion in 2013e to $2.4 billion 2015e. This makes the Brazil games market the fifth largest in the world.

The Brazil games market accounts for 62 percent of the Latin American market. Counting almost 200 million people, Brazil’s Internet penetration is growing at a rapid pace. Where the worldwide Internet penetration currently stands at 32 percent, Brazil’s Internet penetration recently reached 50 percent making the country a perfect market for digital games.

For more on this story, see the full article.



A New World For Captain America

The best Captain America stories have always presented a conflict between his unflappable morality and the often wanting standards of the modern world, and that’s a primary element in the upcoming movie Captain America: The Winter Soldier. As SHIELD’s pro-active approach rubs Cap the wrong way, a new threat emerges to global security and a deadly adversary appears in the Winter Soldier.


A Powerful Message For UK Employers

Many countries have a mandatory section on job applications where the applicant indicates whether they’ve had any criminal convictions. U.K. non-profit Business in the Community wants employers to “Ban the Box” as many employers simply skip over a resume where it is checked, and they illustrate this brilliantly using the ‘Skip Ad’ button.

Try the interactive video yourself at


Prelude To War

After the events of Killzone 3, the remaining Helghast have been relocated to Vekta, where they observe an unsteady peace with with native Vektans, divided by a vast wall. This trailer shows us the set up to the events of Killzone: Shadow Fall, hinting at the plot and showing off some of the very impressive effects in the game.


Next-Gen Systems ‘Almost Identical’

Many are wondering about the difference in specifications between Microsoft’s Xbox One console and Sony’s PlayStation 4 system, curious about which console is the most powerful. A couple of select Japanese game developers believe they’re not so far apart.

Japanese game developers Shinji Mikami of Resident Evil fame and Mega Man creator Keiji Inafune both believe that the processing power of both systems is almost a mirror image.

“There’s no real difference between them,” said Mikami as he spoke to Edge magazine. “When Xbox One was first announced it had lower specs than PS4, but now they’re almost identical.”

Meanwhile, Inafune added, “I don’t think there’s a major difference between them. If you get down to the tiny details then maybe each is better at one thing than the other, but it doesn’t really impact the way you make a game.”

He added, “It’s not like PS4 or Xbox One are particularly hard to develop for. Quite the opposite: you can make whatever you want on either one, and that should be enough for anyone.”

Both systems will be released in U.S. retail next month, with the PlayStation 4 arriving on November 15 and the Xbox One releasing a week later, on November 22. No doubt we’ll see some head-to-head comparisons of different games soon after that.

Source: Computer and Video Games